Regional

Sacred sites blast exposes Australia’s laws skewed to mining

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – When mining giant Rio Tinto blew up two ancient caves in Western Australia’s iron-ore rich Pilbara with state approval, the destruction was met with anger from indigenous landowners for whom the sites...

Police ignored George Floyd’s ‘I can’t breathe’ plea – transcript

(Reuters) – The former U.S. police officer charged in the death of George Floyd told him to stop shouting and save his breath as he knelt on his neck and Floyd gasped for air, according to a newly released transcript of police body camera footage. The death of Floyd, a Black man, in police custody...

India raises concerns with U.S. over new rules for foreign students

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has conveyed its concerns to the United States about a new immigration order that could force a large number of Indian students to return home, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration issued a new rule this week that would bar foreign students from remaining in...

Meghan seeks to stop tabloid naming friends in UK legal battle

LONDON (Reuters) – Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, on Thursday sought a court order to stop the publisher of the Mail on Sunday tabloid from revealing the names of five friends who could be witnesses in an ongoing legal dispute, according to a court filing. Meghan, wife of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry, is suing...

Money talks: U.S. town prints own currency to boost coronavirus relief

TENINO, United States (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Tucked away under lock and key in a former railroad depot turned small-town museum in the U.S. state of Washington, a wooden printing press cranked back to life to mint currency after nearly 90 dormant years. The end product: $25 wooden bills bearing the town’s name – Tenino...

Japan, Australian leaders share concern over East, South China Seas

TOKYO/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, shared serious concerns over various moves in the East and South China Seas in their video meeting on Thursday, a Japanese government spokesman said. Asked at a media briefing if the two leaders’ concerns expressed in the meeting were directed to...

EU lawmakers urge Japan to end parental child ‘abductions’

BRUSSELS/TOKYO (Reuters) – The European Parliament urged Japan to comply with international rules on child protection and to allow for joint parental custody after a number of EU citizens were denied access to their children by Japanese mothers. Unlike most countries, Japan does not recognise joint custody after divorce and children often lose contact with...

Australia to release most from COVID-19 high-rise lockdown despite surge

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s second-most populous state will relax restrictions on many of the 3,000 people locked down in nine public-housing towers despite surging numbers of COVID-19 cases, state premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday. Victoria state on Saturday confined residents of the towers in their homes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, prompting widespread...

COVID-19: Quarantine period for returning Fijian soldiers to end this weekend

The 14 days COVID-19 quarantine period for 162 Fijian soldiers who arrived from Sinai late last month will be completed this weekend. This has been confirmed by acting PS for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong at a press conference this afternoon. He said the soldiers were under quarantine in a...

EU has failed to halt decline of bees and butterflies, auditors say

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European measures taken to protect bees and butterflies and prevent their decline across the bloc have been largely ineffective, auditors said on Thursday. The European Court of Auditors looked at the effectiveness of the European Commission’s framework of measures aimed at protecting species also including wasps and beetles – such as its...

COVID-19: Fiji records additional five border control cases

Fiji has five more border quarantine confirmed cases of COVID-19 taking the total to eight now. The five new cases were confirmed by Ministry of Health acting permanent secretary Dr James Fong in a press conference this afternoon. All eight cases are border quarantine cases and all patients are in stable condition. Dr Fong added...

Stoeckel: Containment of COVID-19 puts Fiji in a strong position

Fiji’s track record in containing COVID-19 continues to put the destination in a strong position to reassure international visitors that it will be a safe destination to visit when borders reopen. According to Tourism Fiji, the importance of developing a “destination-wide” program to communicate Fiji’s achievement in containing COVID-19, and showcase the safety measures in...

Fijians warned against pyramid schemes

The Consumer Council of Fiji has discovered that certain organised groups have been trying to lure Fijians into ‘get rich quick’ pyramid schemes by making enticing promises of high returns within a short period of time leaving consumers hundreds of dollars out of pocket. According to the CCF, Fijian consumers are being targeted by notorious...

Greenpeace hangs climate change banner over Notre-Dame cathedral

PARIS (Reuters) – Greenpeace activists on Thursday hung a banner reading “Climate: Time to Act!” from a crane towering over the fire-damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. “France isn’t doing enough to control climate change,” said Jean-Francois Juilliard, head of Greenpeace France. “It’s time for action now, we’ve had enough of promises and speeches.” Local elections...

New Zealand deputy PM takes medical leave after food poisoning

(Reuters) – New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said on Thursday he would take medical leave this week to undergo surgery after suffering from a bout of food poisoning. “This is an unexpected medical event and of course unexpected timing. However the doctor’s advice on having surgery needs to be followed,” Peters, who is...

Global coronavirus cases rise to more than 12 million

(Reuters) – Global coronavirus cases exceeded 12 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as evidence mounts of the airborne spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months. The number of cases is triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health...

Harvard, MIT seek temporary halt to Trump administration rule on international students

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration on Wednesday, seeking to block a new rule that would bar foreign students from remaining in the United States if their universities move all courses online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two universities filed a lawsuit in federal court...

United Airlines sending ‘gut punch’ furlough warnings to 36,000 workers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines <UAL.O> said on Wednesday it was preparing to send notices of potential furloughs to 36,000 U.S.-based frontline employees, or about 45% of staff, as travel demand hit by the coronavirus pandemic struggles to recover. United shares lost 3.3% in midday trading. Not everyone who receives a notification will be furloughed,...

Scientists warn of potential wave of COVID-linked brain damage

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium. A study by researchers at University College London (UCL)described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage...

9th July

Millions of Australians back in lockdown amid Melbourne virus outbreak

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne, went back into lockdown at midnight on Wednesday, forcing five million Australians to stay home for all but essential business for the next six weeks to contain a flare-up of coronavirus cases. State police were patrolling the city and setting up checkpoints on major roads to stop...

EU lawmakers ban nuclear from green transition fund, leave loophole for gas

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders are split over which fuels deserve support from the bloc’s flagship green energy fund, after lawmakers on Monday called for rules that could allow the money to be spent on some fossil gas projects. The European Commission wants to launch a 40 billion euro (36 billion pounds) Just Transition...

‘Weaponized’ Facebook fails to protect civil rights, audit says

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s decisions to allow controversial posts by President Donald Trump established a “terrible precedent” that could allow the platform to be “weaponized to suppress voting,” an external civil rights audit found on Wednesday. The report, which Facebook commissioned two years ago, said the social network has not done enough to protect users...

Study shows ancient contact between Polynesian and South American peoples

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New genetic research shows that there was mingling between ancient native peoples from Polynesia and South America, revealing a single episode of interbreeding roughly 800 years ago after an epic transoceanic journey. The question of such contact – long hypothesized in part based on the enduring presence in Polynesia of a staple...

PM Bainimarama: COVID-19 is clearly the job killer

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says after another worse-than-anticipated quarter for the world economy, COVID-19 is clearly the job killer of the century. Delivering his remarks at the International Labour Organisation’s Global Virtual Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work yesterday, Mr Bainimarama highlighted the unique challenges presently faced by the Small Island Developing...

HMNZS Otago docks in Suva to refuel ahead of food security ops

The HMNZS Otago – a protector-class offshore patrol vessel – docked at the Port of Suva this morning to refuel before commencing on its food security operations in Fiji. No naval personnel was allowed to disembark off the vessel while it docked as the ship closely observed Fiji’s health protocols because of COVID-19. New Zealand Defence adviser...

EU scrambles to buy intensive care drugs to tackle COVID shortages

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is seeking firms to supply 24 intensive care drugs, an EU official told Reuters, as it strives to tackle shortages of medicines for COVID-19 patients amid fears of a second wave of infections and strong global demand. The tender, which will seek drugs for ten European Union member states,...

Bali hosts first centre to return captive dolphins to the wild

BANYUWEDANG BAY, Indonesia (Reuters) – Just a year ago, Rambo was confined to a shallow, chlorinated pool in an Indonesian hotel on the island of Bali entertaining visitors from around the world by jumping through hoops. Now, the bottlenose dolphin is swimming freely after being brought to what organisers say is the world’s first permanent...

8th July

WHO to travellers: keep an eye on ‘anywhere and everywhere’ COVID-19

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization on Tuesday urged travellers to wear masks on planes and keep themselves informed as COVID-19 cases surge again in some countries, prompting new restrictions in places like Australia. Spokeswoman Margaret Harris urged people not to be caught off-guard by resurgent local epidemics and quarantine measures, saying: “If it’s...

COVID-19: Two more test positive for virus

Fiji has recorded two more border quarantined COVID-19 cases. Ministry of Health acting permanent secretary Dr James Fong said both cases were Fiji citizens who were repatriated from India on Wednesday last week. “One is a 37-year-old son of Fiji’s 19th quarantine case that was announced yesterday (Monday) and the second is a 36-year-old female,”...

River eats away land; two of four rows of home left

From a village of 50 homes, besieged Vuniniudrovu Village in Naitasiri has been reduced to a community of only 13 dwellings. Villagers have been at the mercy of the Waimanu River for 30 years, where ruination of the community happens whenever the river bursts its banks. Strong currents have destabilised the foundation of homes and...

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